On Monday, September 21, the Manhattan VA Medical Center held its annual Community Mental Health Summit, where VA administrators sought to improve understanding and communication between the VA and service providers and veterans within the community. The event was held in Atrium A (the main conference center), and was well-attended by a large audience made up mostly of service providers from non-VA programs and nonprofits in the area. The program as a whole was informative and interactive, but left us with many questions about how much community input would go toward actual changes at the Manhattan VAMC, or whether there will be follow-up with community members about what was discussed.
Advocates have proposed that NYC’s 3-1-1 information system directly connect suicidal veterans who dial the system to the federally-funded VA Suicide Hotline. This initiative received the strongest support of the sixteen listed in the survey. A total of 95.39% of respondents indicated that they view this as either essential or very important.
On June 16, Kristen L. Rouse testified at the City Council Veterans Committee hearing on a proposed resolution to recognize the month of June as Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder Awareness Month in New York City, which parallels a U.S. Senate resolution recognizing the same nationally. Last week we stood with Veterans Committee Chair Eric Ulrich, MOVA Commissioner Loree Sutton, and veteran leaders and advocates on the steps of City Hall, united in the cause of supporting this important resolution. We further offered the following testimony:
June is nationally recognized as PTSD Awareness Month, and tomorrow representatives from NYC government and the NYC veterans community will meet on the steps of City Hall to declare June 10 as Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) Awareness Day in New York City.